Van Swearingen

When you think of an identity thief, you probably envision some squirrelly jerk in a third-world country selling your data on the black market. He’s untraceable and living someplace where the police don’t care. However, that ID thief could be only miles away from you, living an otherwise normal life… in a police where police also don’t really care. [More]

John Oliver Reveals Illicit Global Cadbury Creme Egg Conspiracy

John Oliver Reveals Illicit Global Cadbury Creme Egg Conspiracy

Did you know that Cadbury Creme Eggs aren’t just a sickeningly sweet, vaguely holiday-themed treat? No, according to truth-telling TV personality John Oliver, they are also the epicenter of a global conspiracy involving classic Christmas movies, Bono, gold, and affordable airfare. [More]

Minnesota AG Lori Swanson says her office has received a number of complaints from people who donated to Wheels for Wishes believing that a large portion of their donation would benefit the Make-A-Wish Foundation. According to Swanson's report, only about 20% of that money went to the foundation, while millions went to for-profit companies owned by the Wheels for Wishes' founders.

Report: “Wheels For Wishes” Charity Misled Donors About Make-A-Wish Donations

Car Donation Foundation, more popularly known as “Wheels for Wishes,” is the nation’s largest auto donation charity. Every year, it takes in millions of dollars from donated cars for the supposed purpose of benefiting local chapters of the Make-A-Wish Foundation. But Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson says the charity has been misleading donors about its connections to Make-A-Wish and about how much money that organization was getting from the donated vehicles. [More]

Green Dot, the company that services Walmart MoneyCard accounts, says an investigation gives it reason to believe this may be a hoax.

Man Returns $10,000 Walmart Debit Card To Store, Now It’s Gone Missing

UPDATE: Green Dot — the company that services the Walmart MoneyCard — tells Consumerist that its investigation of this story gives it reason to believe it may all be a hoax. More details on the questions and inconsistencies with the man’s story can be found HERE. [More]

Report: Telemarketers Pocket Nearly 2/3 Of Charity Donations

Report: Telemarketers Pocket Nearly 2/3 Of Charity Donations

While the person who calls you to ask for a charitable donation is probably representing a non-profit organization, that telemarketer may be employed by a for-profit fundraising company hired by the charity. But just how much of what you’re giving ends up going to the charity, and how much goes to line the telemarketer’s pockets? [More]

Why Comcast Wants To Buy Time Warner Cable, And Why TWC Wants To Let Them

Commentary has been flying nonstop since Comcast announced its plan to buy Time Warner Cable. If the buyout goes through, there will be enormous repercussions in the TV and broadband industries, both for competitors and for consumers. Before the legal filings and federal approvals and consumer chaos all begin in March, though, it’s worth taking a step back to look at why this merger is being proposed, and why it’s happening now.


Unethical, Annoying, And Ubiquitous Ads: Internet Miracle Cures For Everything

Unethical, Annoying, And Ubiquitous Ads: Internet Miracle Cures For Everything

Advertising rates have fallen in all media. This has helped along the implosion of the print media, led to near-saturation of infomercials on TV, and produced the ads for flatter stomachs, whiter teeth, and vanishing stretch marks nearly everywhere you click on the Internet. We know where infomercials come from, but who’s behind these banner ads? Who had the brilliant idea, in a recession, to promise ugly duckling-like transformations at the end of a free trial? Slate’s The Big Money decided to find out.